Survival Tips: Winter Shelter, Part 1

Cold weather may drive many people inside, but as a hunter, there is still plenty drawing you to the outdoors. As long as you keep a few safety tips in mind and come prepared, your winter season hunting trips can be great experiences. If something goes wrong, however, you want to be prepared. Whether a member of your party becomes injured, you get lost, or there are other unexpected circumstances, it’s key that you know how to handle yourself.

During the winter, finding or building a shelter should be your top priority. Dehydration is less of a concern for those of us who live in states with snow, but exposure to the elements and loss of body heat become major problems. You need a way to stay warm, dry, and protected from weather. In some cases, you may be able to rely on your hunting shelter, if you are utilizing one. In other cases, we hope that the following advice is helpful. Read on to learn more, and find hunting platforms and shelters you can rely here at Copper Ridge Outdoors!

Choose a Location

Location is key if you need to create your own shelter. Wet ground can quickly sap your body heat, so look for the driest place you can find. You also want to avoid high ground, like ridges or mountain tops where you could be exposed to cold wind, while also avoiding any ravines where cold air and moisture will settle. Find a place sheltered by trees if you can. If there is deep snow, look for a tree well, where the branches have created a natural break in the snow around the trunk of the tree.

Something Is Better Than Nothing

If you have very few supplies and you need a solution before dark, there are a few minimal measures you can take. If you have a tarp, fold or roll it so the seam will be under your body, tuck one end underneath to close it off, and utilize it as a makeshift sleeping bag. If you are without any kind of sheet, then gather debris from the forest floor – evergreen boughs should be available at the very least – and create a pile that is a few feet high and longer than you are tall. You can bury yourself in this pile for protection from the elements.

Build Small

If you have more supplies, whether it’s a tarp and cord or access to fallen tree branches, then try to build a small shelter. Keep in mind that your body heat is likely to be your primary source of warmth, so you want a shelter that is barely big enough for you to lie down in. The walls shouldn’t be so close that they touch you, as this can further sap warmth from your body, but you don’t want to leave too much room for air and heat to escape.

For detailed advice on how to build your own emergency winter shelter, look for part two of this series! We’ll cover two simple strategies for protecting yourself from the elements, depending on the materials you may have on hand. If you are looking for more outdoor hunting survival tips, check out other articles on the Copper Ridge Outdoors blog! We have an ongoing series with advice on how to navigate, find clean water, build a fire, and more.

Here at Copper Ridge Outdoors, you can also find information on choosing the right outdoor hunting gear, caring for it over the years, and more. Explore our site to see all the high-quality equipment we have to offer, and place your order with an outfitter you can trust today!